As Dale and I have been looking for our next church, we have been asking our children — who are millennials — what kind of church would you have if you could design you own church. Why are we so interested in what our children would think about the church? Because our churches our not reaching millennials. The Millennials are now the largest age group in the United States. Both of our children have told us that they look for a church that is a community (or a relational church.) Notice, they did not say a friendly church. Most churches believe they are friendly. If you ask most churches what their greatest asset is, they will say that they are a friendly church. In most cases, they mean they are friendly to those who are already there – but not so friendly to the outsider, especially if they sit in their pew. Churches really need to examine to see if they are really a friendly church or just friendly to the insiders. Our children want a church that they feel like everyone has an equal say and power – no matter age, sex, race, or economic statue. Our son told us that churches have too much politics in them. I have to agree with him. Churches waste too much time with the politics and running the church then they do being the church to the world that needs Christ. The point of this short series of weekly posts is to point out to the church that the church should be a place where everyone is welcome and if you are a Christian this is a place for you to fit in as well.
Ross Parsley writes in his book, Messy Church,” the idea is simple: church is meant to be like a family table, where children and parents and grandparents all gather to share a meal. Children will need to be patient and bear with Grandpa’s and Grandma’s rambling and sometimes repetitive stories, and Grandpa and Grandma and Mom and Dad will need to find a way to deal with the with the energy and messiness of the children at the table. Some churches would rather have a “kids” table, where the noise and the mess can be contained. But a healthy family lets the generations overlap so wisdom can be passed down and energy can flow up.” A healthy church life doesn’t end with getting everyone to the table; that is way it begins, “Discover the Mystery of Faith by Glenn Packiam.
Every person has something to give to the church no matter who they are and no one should have to worry about being judged. They should be welcomed for the person they are. In God’s eyes we are all equal according the Galatians 3:28
There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Honestly, as a pastor I know this is not easy to do but it is something every church should aim for. Nor do I have the answer to how this actually looks like – to balance the church – to keep the older people happy and yet attract the younger people. The good thing is that our leaders in our denomination are going to churches and explaining to them that they need to start changing so younger people are attracted to the church so the church can keep ministering for years to come.